It appears the Russians have ruled out any foul play in the Christmas Day aircraft accident in the Black Sea.
The Tupolev 154’s black box has been found along with the main part of the fuselage, but the authorities are now concentrating their inquiry into either a technical fault, or human error as the cause of the crash.
Today is a national day of mourning for the victims, who were on their way to play a Christmas concert in Aleppo for Russian service personnel in Syria. All 92 people on board were killed, and while 11 bodies have been recovered more have yet to be found.
Some 3500 people are involved in the huge search operation.
Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov confirmed the plane, built in 1983, had a good service record, was renovated in 2014, and serviced only in September. But a euronews correspondent who used the plane four times recently found it ageing and dilapidated.
I took Russia’s Defence Ministry Tu-154 to Latakia and back 4 times in 2015 and 2016. Felt like flying in an old bus pic.twitter.com/VHOdBN1TNC— Denis Loctier (@loctier) 25 December 2016
Victims included leading charity activist Elizaveta Glinka and a media crew of nine journalists sent to cover the concert, along with dozens of Russian army Alexandrov song and dance band singers, dancers and musicians.
Flags are being flown at half-mast around the country and well-wishers have been bringing floral tributes to the airport in Sochi, from where the place made its final brief flight.
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